Thursday, 15 February 2007


Greenpeace V's Nuclear Power In Court!

The UK government's nuclear strategy was thrown into disarray this morning when environmental campaign group Greenpeace won a legal victory in London's High Court.
A judge ruled that the government's consultation process during a review of energy policy last year had been "very seriously flawed" and "procedurally unfair".
Mr Justice Sullivan said that, as a result, Greenpeace's application for a quashing order should succeed.

The judgment, given in oral rather than written form because of the urgency, comes just weeks ahead of a planned government energy white paper in March, which had been expected to give the go-ahead to new nuclear plants.

Buoyed by the government's indications last July that a new generation of nuclear power stations should be built and run by the private sector, nuclear companies have already been positioning themselves for the contract work which they expect to result
Last July, in the wake of the energy policy review, Alistair Darling, trade and industry secretary, told parliament that nuclear power had to be part of Britain's energy supply over the next 40 years to avoid over-reliance on imported gas and to meet ambitious targets for cutting carbon emissions.

Nuclear power currently provides about 19 per cent of the country's electricity supply, but its share is due to fall to 7 per cent in the next two decades as old plants are decommissioned.
In a judicial review challenge heard earlier this month in the High Court, lawyers for Greenpeace argued that the consultation process leading up to that indicative green light given for new nuclear plants was seriously flawed.

Mr Justice Sullivan agreed, finding that information on two critical issues – the economics of new nuclear building and the disposal of waste – had been inadequate during the consultation period, and that information of any substance only emerged after this had concluded.
As a result, he said, there could be no proper consultation, let alone the "fullest public consultation" which the government had promised.

The judge's decision could be subject to appeal.

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